I don’t think it’s going to come as much of a surprise to you that I was not a big sports person when I was a kid, namely because I just used the phrase “big sports person” in a sentence. There isn’t a competitive bone in my body, and if I have a choice between watching TV and running around in a circle for an hour, I am going to go with the TV, thanks. It doesn’t make my chest hurt as much and I don’t have to take a shower after using it unless I have a bag of Cheetos by my side. (Side note: Spellcheck did not just highlight “Cheetos”, which is either scary or hilarious.)
So yeah, no elective sports for pre-teen Emily. But parents will be parents and mine made me participate in some summer intramural activities. For a few years, I played softball during the summers for our local non-competitive league. On our first date, I thought B was a Big Sports Person* so I played up some story about how I caught a flyball in the outfield when I was twelve, and from that point on couldn’t keep the scouts away. No better way to impress gentleman suitors than to regale them with stories of your adolescent athletic prowess. I also took Taekwondo lessons in elementary school because I evidently felt threatened by all the thuggery traipsing around our suburban paradise. I quit by the time I hit sixth grade because I needed to focus on our school’s Just Say No glee club.
*He had a crew cut at the time, and that read “sports” to me. I don’t even know.
My mom and dad decided one summer that it was a good idea to sign me up for the swim team at our country club. Don’t worry; we were pool members only. Can we still be friends? Our family’s ID number that we had to use when we signed in for the pool was 666. That has absolutely nothing to do with the story of the swim team but I have been holding onto that tidbit for awhile and I don’t know when else it’s going to come up. I mean, how often do you get to talk about how the mark of the beast came up during your childhood? Not often, unless you are a member of My Family Had to Write 666 On a Clipboard Every Time We Wanted to Use the Water Slide and Eat Pixie Sticks at the Country Club Anonymous.
Can you tell I’m stalling? There’s a reason for that.
You see, my story of being a swim teamer is very short. I did it for two weeks. Two weeks of waking in the morning and being carted to the pool to swim laps. Two weeks of looking at awkward little boys wearing Speedos and seeming oddly OK with it. Two weeks of not admitting my inability to hold my breath without pinching my nose as I stuck my head underwater. Two weeks of plotting ways to get out of this activity while I sucked my tiny belly in while loitering around the pool.
And that’s the reach of my memory. Swim team eventually was phased out because I guess my parents actually wanted me to enjoy my summer. Parents really aren’t all bad. Swim team was cancelled for me, and I got to visit the pool in the afternoon when the lane markers were removed and Sprite – not Gatorade – was being sold at the concession stand. I am kind of glad that I don’t have much else to say about swim team. Childhood is traumatic enough that one shouldn’t have too many stories about swimming when they don’t want to.
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